Despite the drama surrounding a lack of playing time with the United States at the 2022 World Cup, Giovanni Reyna has one thing he won’t have to worry about going forward: his future with the national team.
Reyna, 20, played a key role for the USMNT in their Concacaf Nations League win in June and was told by U.S. Soccer’s sporting director after the semifinal victory over Mexico that his long-term place in the team was guaranteed.
“I spoke with Matt Crocker in Las Vegas after the Mexico game,” Reyna told ESPN’s Derek Rae. “He said I will have an important role in the program for many years going forward.
“My job is to keep improving on the field and to help the team win.”
The Borussia Dortmund midfielder only played in two games for the U.S. in Qatar — coming off the bench in a draw against England and in the knockout loss to the Netherlands — and was at the center of a controversy involving his parents, Claudio and Danielle, and manager Gregg Berhalter over his lack of minutes.
Berhalter, whose contract expired after the World Cup and has since been rehired by the U.S. after interim spells by Anthony Hudson and, more recently, B.J. Callaghan at the Gold Cup, admitted there was work to do to repair the relationship between player and coach.
“I’d certainly acknowledge that there’s work to do, and Gio is an important player to this team,” Berhalter said in June at his first press conference after being rehired. “He’s an extremely talented individual, and I have the obligation and the commitment to coach him like I coach every other player, and I want to get the best out of him.”
“The end of the season was tough for everyone connected to the club,” Reyna said. “We know how close we were and it was so disappointing not to get it done. The experience has taught us that we have the potential to win trophies and has made us all stronger as we look forward to the upcoming season.”
The U.S. is hosting the Copa America in 2024 and co-hosting the World Cup in 2026 with Mexico and Canada, and while Reyna said he can’t guarantee what the outcomes will be, he at least knows he’ll be playing a major part.
“The Copa America in the U.S. will be a great experience for our team as we continue to progress,” Reyna said. “We need to raise our expectations. There’s no reason we shouldn’t compete for the trophy in front of our fans in our country. That’s the mentality.”
Reyna and Dortmund have upcoming preseason matches against the San Diego Loyal, Manchester United and Chelsea — all in the U.S. — and begin Bundesliga play Aug. 19 at Signal Iduna Park against FC Cologne.